Boost in Positive UK Public Attitudes to Vaping

Boost in Positive UK Public Attitudes to Vaping
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Majority of people questioned in a new YouGov poll say vaping is better than smoking

Most people in Britain now agree that using electronic cigarettes is far better for health than smoking tobacco cigarettes, according to a sampling of the population questioned in a new poll.

The survey was commissioned by Electric Tobacconist, a leading online vaping retailer with operations in Britain and the United States. Top pollster YouGov was chosen to independently conduct the survey, and it comes as e-cigarettes are skyrocketing in popularity.

It was also carried out at a time when British health authorities are increasingly recommending vaping as an effective way to stop smoking and become healthier. Traditional cessation methods such as using nicotine gums and patches are not, they say, particularly successful.

Views on Vaping

Altogether, 2,134 adults across the UK took part in the YouGov survey and 43% of them agreed with the statement: “I think vaping is generally better for your health than smoking”. Those who thought e-cigarettes had the same impact on health as cigarettes amounded to 31% of respondents, while 20% didn’t know and 5% held the view that vaping was worse than smoking.

Electronic cigarettes — which use a battery to heat liquid containing nicotine, which may be flavoured or contain no nicotine at all — have only been around for a relatively short time and many people are still learning about them. They have rapidly grown in popularity in recent years, however, evidenced by the mushrooming of vape shops in towns and cities around the UK, as well as their availability online.

For the purposes of the YouGov survey, respondents were informed that vaping, which is now regulated in the UK, extends to more than just e-cigarettes and includes vaporizers and other devices. They were also told to be mindful of all products that burn tobacco when thinking about smoking, including cigars and pipes.

Delving into rich data provided by YouGov, it appears that information was key to people’s views on vaping, particularly their positive views about the activity. Those who were most active on social media, for example, had more positive views about electronic cigarettes, suggesting they were reading about new studies and advisories on vaping via their various feeds.

Of that group, 52% had been on LinkedIn, 49% on Twitter and 46% had logged in to Facebook in the past month. By contrast, those who agreed that vaping is worse than smoking had only 3-6% activity on social media during the month.

Grim Smoking Toll

With smoking claiming some 100,000 lives around the UK each year, health authorities are racing to try and convince people to stub out cigarettes for good and drastically roll back the figures for what is the single biggest cause of preventable death. As part of efforts currently underway, the NHS is recommending that people take up vaping if they want to quit.

“E-cigarettes are particularly effective when combined with support from local stop-smoking services — people who choose this route have some of the highest quitting success rates,” the health service said during its annual Stoptober campaign last year.

This week, Public Health England issued an update to a 2015 report into e-cigarettes and found that “vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking and switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys substantial health benefits”.

It said e-cigs were helping to drive down smoking rates across England and that if more smokers used them, 20,000 people could finally kick their tobacco habit every year. With three million vapers now in the UK, the health body says the figure “has plateaued”, largely due to suspicion and fears over e-cigarettes.

It says that “many thousands of smokers incorrectly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking; around 40% of smokers have not even tried an e-cigarette … there is much public misunderstanding about nicotine (less than 10% of adults understand that most of the harms to health from smoking are not caused by nicotine)”. The executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care also said there was no evidence that vaping was a gateway to smoking for young people.

With public awareness and sentiment towards vaping rising, it’s possible that one day smoking could be stubbed out for good.


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